Mon, Feb 27, 2017 | updated 09:22 PM IST

Brain performs feats of math that make sense of the world

Updated: Aug 29, 2016 12:52 IST

Washington D.C. [United States], Aug.29 (ANI): A Princeton University study has opined that the brain performs feats of math that make sense of the world.

University researchers found that the human brain combines complicated observations from existing surroundings into a simple assessment of the situation which aids our behavior.

This process is also flexible enough to account for new information as and when it becomes available.

The researchers found that our brains can accurately track the likelihood of several different explanations for what we see around us. They traced these abilities to a region of the brain located just behind our eyes known as the orbito-frontal cortex.

First author Stephanie Chan, who earned her doctorate in neuroscience from Princeton in 2016, said the brain keeps track of possibilities in a way that is simpler than a comprehensive description of the situation, but more complex than a single explanation.

She said that she investigated the idea that the brain calculates a distribution of probabilities for each of many distinct possibilities.

"When I try to cross the street, I'm not actually analyzing every bit of the scene, I'm constructing a narrative that I base my decision on, such as, 'That car is slowing down because of the red light'," said Yael Niv, an associate professor of psychology and the Princeton Neuroscience Institute (PNI) who co-authored the study.

Another co-author Kenneth Norman, a professor of psychology, said, "Our brains are horrible at arithmetic. Our implicit computations are so much better than our explicit computations."

This work appears in the Journal of Neuroscience. (ANI)

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